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List of military nuclear accidents

This article lists notable military accidents involving nuclear material. Civilian accidents are listed at List of civilian nuclear accidents. For a general discussion of both civilian and military accidents, see nuclear and radiation accidents.


Scope of this article

In listing military nuclear accidents, the following criteria have been adopted:

  1. There must be well-attested and substantial health damage, property damage or contamination.
  2. The damage must be related directly to radioactive material, not merely (for example) at a nuclear power plant.
  3. To qualify as “military,” the nuclear operation/material must be principally for military purposes.


  • June 23, 1942 – Leipzig, Germany (then Nazi Germany) – steam explosion and reactor fire
  • Shortly after the Leipzig L-IV atomic pile — worked on by Werner Heisenberg and Robert Doepel — demonstrated Germany’s first signs of neutron propagation, the device was checked for a possible heavy water leak. During the inspection air leaked in igniting the uranium powder inside. The burning uranium boiled the water jacket and generating enough steam pressure to blow the reactor apart. Burning uranium powder scattered throughout the lab causing a larger fire at the facility. [1]


  • August 21, 1945 – Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA – Accidental criticality
  • Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. dropped a tungsten carbide brick onto a plutonium core, inadvertently creating a critical mass at the Los Alamos Omega site. He quickly removed the brick, but was fatally irradiated, dying September 15.[2]
  • May 21, 1946 – Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA – Accidental criticality
  • While demonstrating his technique to visiting scientists at Los Alamos, Canadian physicist Louis Slotin manually assembled a critical mass of plutonium. A momentary slip of a screwdriver caused a prompt critical reaction. Slotin died on May 30 from massive radiation poisoning, with an estimated dose of 1,000 rads (rad), or 10 grays (Gy). Seven observers, who received doses as high as 166 rads, survived.[3] Both men, Daghlian and Slotin, were working with the same bomb core which was known as the “demon core.”


  • February 13, 1950 – British Columbia, Canada – Non-nuclear detonation of a simulated atomic bomb
  • An American B-36 bomber #44-92075 was flying a simulated combat mission from Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, to Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas carrying one weapon containing a dummy warhead. The warhead contained uranium instead of plutonium. After six hours of flight, the bomber experienced mechanical problems and was forced to shut down three of its engines at an altitude of 12,000 feet. Fearing that severe weather and icing would jeopardize a safe emergency landing, the weapon was jettisoned over the Pacific Ocean from a height of 8,000 feet. The weapon’s high explosives detonated upon impact. All of the sixteen crew members and one passenger were able to parachute from the plane and twelve were subsequently rescued from Princess Royal Island. The Pentagon’s summary report does not mention if the weapon was later recovered.[4]
  • April 11, 1950, – Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA – Loss and recovery of nuclear materials
  • Three minutes after departure from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque a B-29 bomber carrying a nuclear weapon, four spare detonators, and a crew of thirteen crashed into a mountain near Manzano Base. The crash resulted in a fire which the New York Times reported as being visible from “fifteen miles.” The bomb’s casing was completely demolished and its high explosives ignited upon contact with the plane’s burning fuel. However, according to the Department of Defense, the four spare detonators and all nuclear components were recovered. A nuclear detonation was not possible because, while on board, the weapon’s core was not in the weapon for safety reasons. All thirteen crew members died.[4]
  • November 10, 1950 – Rivière du Loup, Québec, Canada – Non-nuclear detonation of an atomic bomb
  • Returning one of several U.S. Mark 4 nuclear bombs secretly deployed in Canada a B-50 had engine trouble and jettisoned the weapon at 10,500 feet (3,200 m). The crew set the bomb to self-destruct at 2,500 feet (750 m) and dropped over the St. Lawrence River. The explosion shook area residents and scattered nearly 100 pounds (45 kg) of depleted uranium used in the weapon's tamper. The plutonium core (“pit”) was not in the bomb at the time.[5]


  • March 1, 1954 – Bikini Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (then Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) – Nuclear test accident
  • During the Castle Bravo test of the first deployable hydrogen bomb, a miscalculation resulted in the explosion being over twice as large as predicted, with a total explosive force of 15 megatons. Of the total 15 megaton yield, 10 megatons were from fission of the natural uranium tamper, but those fission reactions were quite dirty, producing a large amount of fallout. Combined with the much-larger-than-expected yield and an unanticipated wind shift Radioactive fallout was spread eastward onto the inhabited Rongelap and Rongerik Atolls. These islands were evacuated, but many of the Marshall Islands natives have since suffered from birth defects and have received some compensation from the federal government. A Japanese fishing boat, Daigo Fukuryu Maru, also came into contact with the fallout, which caused many of the crew to take ill with one fatality. The test resulted in an international uproar and reignited Japanese concerns about radiation, especially with regard to the possible contamination of fish.
  • November 29, 1955 – Idaho, USA – Partial meltdown
  • Operator error led to a partial core meltdown in the experimental EBR-I breeder reactor, resulting in temporarily elevated radioactivity levels in the reactor building and necessitating a significant repair.[6][7]
  • July 27, 1956 – Lakenheath in Suffolk, UK – Nuclear weapons damaged
  • A B-47 crashed into a storage igloo spreading burning fuel over three Mark 6 nuclear bombs at RAF Lakenheath. A bomb disposal expert stated it was a miracle exposed detonators on one bomb did not fire, which presumably would have released nuclear material into the environment.[8]
  • September 11, 1957 – Denver, Colorado, USA – Fire, release of nuclear materials
    A fire began in a materials handling glove box and spread through the ventilation system into the stack filters at the Rocky Flats weapons mill 27 km from Denver, Colorado. Plutonium and other contaminants were released, but the exact amount of which is unknown; estimates range from 25 mg to 250 kg.[9][10][11][12]
  • September 29, 1957 – Mayak, Russia (then USSR) – Explosion, release of nuclear materials
  • A cooling system failure resulted in a major explosion and release of radioactive materials. Hundreds of people died and hundreds of thousands were evacuated.[13]
  • October 8–12, 1957 – Sellafield, Cumbria, UK – Reactor core fire
    See Windscale fire. Technicians mistakenly overheated Windscale Pile No. 1 during an annealing process to release Wigner energy from graphite portions of the reactor. Poorly placed temperature sensors indicated the reactor was cooling rather than heating. The excess heat lead to the failure of a nuclear cartridge, which in turn allowed uranium and irradiated graphite to react with air. The resulting fire burned for days, damaging a significant portion of the reactor core. About 150 burning fuel cells could not be lifted from the core, but operators succeeded in creating a firebreak by removing nearby fuel cells. An effort to cool the graphite core with water eventually quenched the fire. The reactor had released radioactive gases into the surrounding countryside, primarily in the form of iodine-131 (131I). Milk distribution was banned in a 200 mi² (520 km²) area around the reactor for several weeks. A 1987 report by the National Radiological Protection Board predicted the accident would cause as many as 33 long-term cancer deaths, although the Medical Research Council Committee concluded that “it is in the highest degree unlikely that any harm has been done to the health of anybody, whether a worker in the Windscale plant or a member of the general public.” The reactor that burned was one of two air-cooled graphite-moderated natural uranium reactors at the site used for production of plutonium. [14][15][16]
  • January 31, 1958 – Morocco – Nuclear bomb damaged in crash
  • During a simulated takeoff a wheel failure caused the tail of a USAF B-47 carrying an armed nuclear weapon to hit the runway, rupturing a fuel tank and sparking a fire. Some contamination was detected immediately following the accident.[17][18]
  • February 5, 1958 – Savannah, Georgia, USA – Nuclear bomb lost
  • see Tybee Bomb. A B-47 bomber jettisoned a Mark 15 Mod 0 nuclear bomb over the Atlantic Ocean after a midair collision with an F-86 Sabre during a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The F-86’s pilot ejected and parachuted to safety. The USAF claimed the B-47 tried landing at Hunter Air Force Base three times before the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 ft near Tybee Island, Georgia. The B-47 pilot maintains he successfully landed in one attempt only after he first jettisoned the bomb. A 3 square mile area near Wassaw Sound was searched for 9 weeks before the search was called off. The bomb was searched for in 2001 and not found. A new group in 2004 claims to have found an underwater object which it thinks is the bomb.[19]
  • March 11, 1958 – Florence, South Carolina, USA – Non-nuclear detonation of a nuclear bomb
  • A B-47 bomber flying from Savannah, Georgia accidentally released a nuclear bomb after the bomb lock failed. The chemical explosives detonated on impact in the suburban neighborhood of Florence, South Carolina. Radioactive substances were flung across the area. Several minor injuries resulted and the destruction of the house it fell on. No radiation sickness occurred.
  • June 16, 1958 – Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA – Accidental criticality
  • A supercritical portion of highly enriched uranyl nitrate was allowed to collect in the drum causing a prompt neutron criticality in in the C-1 wing of building 9212 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Y-12 complex. It is estimated that the reaction produced 1.3 * 1018 fissions. Eight employees were in close proximity to the drum during the accident, receiving neutron doses ranging from 30 to 477 rems. No fatalities were reported.[20]
  • December 30, 1958 – Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA – Accidental criticality
  • During chemical purification a critical mass of a plutonium solution was accidentally assembled at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The crane operator died of acute radiation sickness. The March, 1961 Journal of Occupational Medicine printed a special supplement medically analyzing this accident. Hand-manipulations of critical assemblies were abandoned as a matter of policy in U.S. federal facilities after this accident.[20]
  • November 20, 1959 – Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA – Explosion
  • A chemical explosion occurred during decontamination of processing machinery in the radiochemical processing plant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee . (Report ORNL-2989, Oak Ridge National Laboratory). The accident resulted in the release of about 15 grams of 239Pu.


  • June 7, 1960 – New Egypt, New Jersey, USA – Nuclear warhead damaged by fire
  • A helium tank exploded and ruptured the fuel tanks of a BOMARC-A surface-to-air missile at McGuire Air Force Base. The fire destroyed the missile, and contaminated the area directly below and adjacent to the missile.[18]
  • October 13, 1960 – Barents Sea, Arctic Ocean – Release of nuclear materials
  • A leak developed in the steam generators and in a pipe leading to the compensator reception on the ill-fated K-8 while the Soviet Northern Fleet November-class submarine was on exercise. While the crew rigged an improvised cooling system, radioactive gases leaked into the vessel and three of the crew suffered visible radiation injuries according to radiological experts in Moscow. Some crew members had been exposed to doses of up to 1.8 - 2 Sv (180 - 200 rem).[21]


  • January 3, 1961 – National Reactor Testing Station, Idaho, USA – Accidental criticality, steam explosion
  • During maintenance procedures the SL-1 experimental nuclear reactor underwent a prompt critical reaction causing the water surrounding the core to explosively vaporize. A pressure wave struck the top of the reactor vessel propelling the control rods and entire reactor vessel upwards. One operator who had been standing on top of the vessel was killed when flying control rods pinned him to the ceiling. Two other military personnel supervising the maintenance operations were also killed. See SL-1.
  • January 24, 1961 – A B-52 bomber suffered a fire caused by a major leak in a wing fuel cell and exploded in midair 12 miles (20 km) north of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro, North Carolina. The incident released the bomber’s two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs. Five crewmen parachuted to safety, but three died—two in the aircraft and one on landing. Three of the four arming devices on one of the bombs activated, causing it to carry out many of the steps needed to arm itself, such as the charging of the firing capacitors and, critically, the deployment of a 100 foot (30 m) diameter retardation parachute. The parachute allowed the bomb to hit the ground with little damage. The fourth arming device — the pilot’s safe/arm switch — was not activated, and so the weapon did not detonate. The other bomb plunged into a muddy field at around 700 miles per hour (300 m/s) and disintegrated. Its tail was discovered about 20 feet (7 m) down and much of the bomb recovered, including the tritium bottle and the plutonium. However, excavation was abandoned because of uncontrollable flooding by ground water, and most of the thermonuclear stage, containing uranium, was left in situ. It was estimated to lie at around 180 feet (55 m). The Air Force purchased the land and fenced it off to prevent its disturbance, and it is tested regularly for contamination, although none has so far been found. [22]
  • July 4, 1961 – The Soviet Hotel-class submarine K-19 experienced a major accident after a reactor cooling system failed off the coast of Norway. The incident contaminated the crew, parts of the ship, and some of the ballistic missiles carried onboard, and several fatalities resulted. Reactor core temperatures reached 800 °C, nearly enough to melt the fuel rods, although the crew was able to regain temperature control by using emergency procedures. The movie K-19: The Widowmaker, starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, offers a controversially fictionalized story of these events.
  • April 21 1964 – A U.S. Transit-5BN-3 nuclear-powered navigational satellite failed to reach orbital velocity and began falling back down at 150,000 feet (46 km) above the Indian Ocean. The satellite’s SNAP generator contained 16 kCi (590 TBq) of 238Pu, which at least partially burned upon reentry. Increased levels of 238Pu were first documented in the stratosphere four months later. The EPA estimated the abortive launch resulted in little 238Pu contamination to human lungs (0.06 mrem or 0.6 µSv) compared to fallout from weapons tests in the 1950s (0.35 mrem or 3.5 µSv) or the EPA’s Clean Air Act airborne exposure limit of 10 mrem (100 µSv).[23][24]
  • January 1965 – An accident at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory releases 300 kCi (11 PBq) of radioactive material.
  • October 1965 – A fire at Rocky Flats exposes a crew of 25 to up to 17 times the legal limit for radiation.
  • December 5, 1965 – An A-4E Skyhawk aircraft with one B43 nuclear bomb on board falls off the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga into 16,200 feet (4.9 km) of water off the coast of Japan. The ship was traveling from Vietnam to Yokosuka, Japan. The plane, pilot and weapon are never recovered. There is dispute over exactly where the incident took place—the U.S. Defense Department originally stated it took place 500 miles (800 km) off the coast of Japan, but Navy documents later show it happened about 80 miles (130 km) from the Ryukyu Islands and 200 miles (320 km) from Okinawa. [25]
  • January 17, 1966 – Near Palomares, Spain, during over-ocean in-flight refueling, a B-52 collides with a USAF KC-135 jet tanker in the Palomares hydrogen bombs incident. Eight of the eleven crew members were killed. The KC-135’s 40,000 U.S. gallons (150,000 L) of jet fuel burned. Two hydrogen bombs ruptured, dispersing radioactive particles over nearby farms. An intact bomb lands near Palomares. The fourth bomb was lost at sea, 12 miles (20 km) off the coast. A three month search involving 12,000 men was required to recover the lost bomb. The U.S. Navy employed the use of the deep-diving research submarine DSV Alvin to aid in the recovery efforts. During the ensuing cleanup, 1,500 tonnes of radioactive soil and tomato plants are shipped to a nuclear dump in Aiken, South Carolina. The U.S. settled claims by 522 Palomares residents for $600,000. The town also received a $200,000 desalinization plant. The motion picture Men of Honor (2000), starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. as USN Diver Carl Brashear, and Robert De Niro as USN Diver Billy Sunday, contained an account of the fourth bomb’s recovery.
  • Winter 1966-1967 (date unknown) – The Soviet icebreaker Lenin, the USSR’s first nuclear-powered surface ship, suffers a major accident (possibly a meltdown—exactly what happened remains a matter of controversy in the West) in one of its three reactors. It was rumored that around 30 of the crew were killed. The ship was abandoned for a year to allow radiation levels to drop before the three reactors were removed, to be dumped into the Tsivolko Fjord on the Kara Sea, along with 60% of the fuel elements packed in a separate container. The reactors were replaced with two new ones, and she reentered service in 1970.
  • January 22, 1968 – 7 miles (11 km) south of Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, a fire breaks out in the navigator’s compartment of a B-52 which crashes, scattering three hydrogen bombs on land and dropping one into the sea. During a cleanup complicated by Greenland’s harsh weather, contaminated ice and aircraft debris are buried in the U.S. Bomb fragments were recycled by Pantex, in Amarillo, Texas. Danes were outraged by the event because Greenland is a Danish possession, and Denmark forbids nuclear weapons on its territory. Denmark had massive demonstrations against the U.S. One warhead was recovered by Navy SEALs and Seabees (U.S. naval engineers) in 1979. An August 2000 report suggests that the other bomb remains at the bottom of Baffin Bay.
  • May 24, 1968 – The Soviet nuclear submarine K-27 (Project 645) was out at sea. During sea trials, the nuclear reactor had operated at reduced power, and on May 24, power inexplicably suddenly dropped. Attempts by the crew to restore power levels failed. Simultaneously, γ radiation in the reactor compartment increased to 150 rad/h. Radioactive gases were released to the reactor compartment from the safety buffer tank, and radiation on board the submarine increased. The reactor was shut down, and approximately 20% of the fuel assemblies were damaged. The incident was caused by problems in the cooling of the reactor core The entire submarine was scuttled in the Kara Sea in 1981.
  • August 27, 1968 – The Project 667A Yankee-class nuclear submarine K-140 was in the naval yard at Severodvinsk for repairs. On August 27, an uncontrolled increase of the reactor’s power occurred following work to upgrade the vessel. One of the reactors started up automatically when the control rods were raised to a higher position. Power increased to 18 times its normal amount, while pressure and temperature levels in the reactor increased to four times the normal amount. The automatic start-up of the reactor was caused by the incorrect installation of the control rod electrical cables and by operator error. Radiation levels aboard the vessel deteriorated.
  • May 11, 1969 – 5 kilograms of plutonium burn at Rocky Flats. Hundreds of railway cars are used to transport the contamination to Idaho Falls, where it is left in unlined trenches over one of the U.S.’s most significant aquifers. The Colorado Committee for Environmental Information deployed scientists with sophisticated measuring equipment, putting officials on notice that the public now had the capacity to discover and report releases of radioactive substances. The committee’s work in response to the fire discovered radioactive residue in areas near Rocky Flats that provided evidence of gradual build-up of radioactive compounds during the years of Rocky Flats operation.
  • July 24, 1969 – A serious fire at the AEC’s Nuclear Trigger Assembly Facility at Rocky Flats in Colorado suspends U.S. missile production. Areas downwind are contaminated by plutonium. Several factory buildings become uninhabitable and are later dismantled and buried.


  • April 12, 1970 – The Soviet November-class attack submarine K-8 apparently experiences problems with its nuclear propulsion system while in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew attempts to hook a tow line to an East Bloc merchant vessel, but fails. The ship sinks, killing 52.[26]
  • April 17,1970 – Apollo XIII returns to Earth, jettisoning a SNAP 27 radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) that contained approximately 3.9 kg of plutonium. This device was intended to be left on the lunar surface. However, the lunar landing was aborted, and the device returned to Earth with the spacecraft. The RTG survived reentry; however, it has not been recovered from its resting place in the Tonga Trench.
  • December 12, 1971 – In the Thames River near New London, Connecticut, radioactive coolant water is being transferred from the submarine USS Dace to the submarine tender USS Fulton when 500 U.S. gallons (1,900 L) are spilled into the river.
  • December 1972 – A major fire and two explosions at a plutonium fabrication plant in Pawling, New York, cause plutonium to contaminate the plant and grounds, resulting in its permanent shutdown.
  • 1975 – The American Sturgeon-class submarine USS Guardfish attempts to dump the depleted resin from its purification system (used to remove dissolved radioactive minerals and particles from the primary coolant loops of submarines). The ship is contaminated when the wind blows resin back onto the ship. This type of accident was fairly common; however, U.S. Navy nuclear vessels no longer discharge resin at sea.
  • October–November 1975 – While disabled, the submarine tender USS Proteus discharges radioactive coolant water into Apra Harbor, Guam. A Geiger counter at two of the harbor's public beaches showed 100 millirems/hour, fifty times the allowable dose.
  • August 1976 – An explosion at a Hanford, Washington, Plutonium Finishing Plant contaminated several workers. The plant converted plutonium nitrate solutions into metallic form for nuclear weapons production facilities. The explosion blew out a quarter-inch-thick lead glass window that shielded workers from radioactive materials. One 64-year-old worker, Harold McCluskey, was showered with nitric acid and radioactive pieces of glass. The worker inhaled the largest dose of 241Am ever recorded. He inhaled about 500 times the U.S. government occupational standards for the element. The worker was placed in isolation for five months and given an experimental drug to flush the isotope from his body. By 1977, his body’s radiation count had fallen by about 80 percent. When the worker returned home, friends and church members avoided him. His minister finally had to tell people it was safe to be around him. He died of natural causes in 1987 at age 75.[27]
  • 1977 – The Soviet submarine K-171 accidentally releases a nuclear warhead while off the coast of Kamchatka. After a frantic search involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the warhead is recovered.[28]
  • January 24, 1978 – Cosmos 954, a Soviet Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite with an onboard nuclear reactor, breaks up on reentry over Canada; some radioactive pieces were recovered.
  • May 22, 1978 – Aboard the submarine USS Puffer near Puget Sound, Washington, a valve was mistakenly opened, releasing up to 500 U.S. gallons (1,900 L) of radioactive water.
  • July 16, 1979 (34th anniversary of the Trinity test) – In Church Rock, New Mexico, the earth/clay dike of a uranium mill’s “temporary” settling/evaporating pond fails. The pond was past its planned and licensed life and had been filled two feet (60 cm) deeper than design, despite evident cracking. The incident drains about 100 million U.S. gallons (380,000 m³) of radioactive liquids and 1,100 short tons (1,000 metric tons) of solid wastes, which settle out up to 70 miles (100 km) down the Rio Puerco.[29]


  • September 18, 1980 – On September 18, 1980, at about 6:30 p.m., an airman conducting maintenance on the Titan-II missile at Launch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus, Arkansas, dropped a wrench socket, which fell about eighty feet before hitting and piercing the skin on the rocket’s first-stage fuel tank, causing it to leak. At about 3:00 a.m., on September 19, 1980, the missile exploded. The W53 warhead landed about 100 feet from the launch complex’s entry gate; its safety features operated correctly and prevented any loss of radioactive material. An Air Force airman was killed, and the complex was destroyed.[30]
  • August 8, 1982 – While on duty in the Barents Sea, there was a release of liquid metal coolant from the reactor of the Soviet Project 705 Alfa-class submarine K-123. The accident was caused by a leak in the steam generator. Approximately two tons of metal alloy leaked into the reactor compartment, irreparably damaging the reactor such that it had to be replaced. It took nine years to repair the submarine.
  • January 3, 1983 – The Soviet nuclear-powered spy satellite Kosmos 1402 burns up over the South Atlantic.
  • August 10, 1985 – About 35 miles (55 km) from Vladivostok in Chazhma Bay, a Soviet Echo-class submarine had a reactor explosion, producing fatally high levels of radiation. Ten officers are killed, but the deadly cloud of radioactivity does not reach Vladivostok.[31]
  • 1986 – The U.S. government declassifies 19,000 pages of documents indicating that between 1946 and 1986, the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington, released thousands of US gallons (several m³) of radioactive liquids. Of 270,000 people living in the affected area, most received low doses of radiation from 131I.
  • October 3, 1986 – 480 miles (770 km) east of Bermuda, K-219, a Soviet Yankee I-class submarine experienced an explosion in one of its nuclear missile tubes and at least three crew members were killed. Sixteen nuclear missiles and two reactors were on board. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachyov privately communicated news of the disaster to U.S. President Ronald Reagan before publicly acknowledging the incident on October 4. Two days later, on October 6, the submarine sank in the Atlantic Ocean while under tow in 18,000 feet (5.5 km) of water.[32]
  • October 1988 – At the nuclear trigger assembly facility at Rocky Flats in Colorado, two employees and a D.O.E. inspector inhale radioactive particles, causing closure of the plant. Several safety violations were cited, including uncalibrated monitors, inadequate fire equipment, and groundwater contaminated with radioactivity.


  • 1997 – Georgian soldiers suffer radiation poisoning and burns. They are eventually traced back to training sources abandoned, forgotten, and unlabeled after the collapse of the Soviet Union. One was a 137Cs pellet in a pocket of a shared jacket which put out about 130,000 times the level of background radiation at 1 meter distance.[33]


  • February 2003: Oak Ridge, Tennessee Y-12 facility. During the final testing of a new saltless uranium processing method, there was a small explosion followed by a fire. The explosion occurred in an unvented vessel containing unreacted calcium, water and depleted uranium. An exothermic reaction among these articles generated enough steam to burst the container. This small explosion breached its glovebox, allowing air to enter and ignite some loose uranium powder. Three employees were contaminated. BWXT, a partnership of BWX Technologies and Bechtel National, was fined $82,500 for the accident.[34]

See also

  • International Nuclear Events Scale
  • List of disasters
  • Nuclear weapons
  • List of nuclear reactors - a comprehensive annotated list of the world's nuclear reactors
  • Osiraq - Iraq reactor destroyed preemptively by Israeli airstrike, 7 June 1981
  • Radiation
  • United States military nuclear incident terminology


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "List_of_military_nuclear_accidents". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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